PUBLI : Tommaso Vitale, Raffaele Vacca et David Cañarte, « Beyond ethnic solidarity : the diversity and specialisation of social ties in a stigmatised migrant minority », Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, online, 2021, p. 1–29


Whether presented as ethnic ‘soli­da­rity’ or ‘segre­ga­tion’, the idea that migrants’ social world is domi­nated by tightly-knit, homo­ge­neous, and suppor­tive networks of kin and co-ethnics is common in scho­larly and public discourse around migra­tion, parti­cu­larly for mino­ri­ties with a history of margi­na­li­sa­tion, segre­ga­tion, and stig­ma­ti­sa­tion. We test this idea using results from the first survey of personal networks in one of the most stig­ma­tised immi­grant mino­ri­ties in the Western world : Roma migrants in Europe. Analy­sing data on 119 Roma­nian Roma migrants in France and their 3,570 social ties, we iden­tify typical struc­tures of personal commu­ni­ties, describe the distri­bu­tion and asso­cia­tion of different dimen­sions of social support, and esti­mate multi­level models to iden­tify deter­mi­nants of support in this popu­la­tion. We find that, even in contexts of strong margi­na­li­sa­tion and stig­ma­ti­sa­tion, the hypo­theses of ethnic soli­da­rity, socio­de­mo­gra­phic homo­phily, and network closure are inade­quate to explain the way migrants obtain social support.

Instead, Roma­nian Roma in France appear much closer to the model of ‘networked indi­vi­dua­lism’ and similar to middle classes in Western ethnic majo­ri­ties, as they stra­te­gi­cally main­tain diverse and far-flung networks, choose forms of elec­tive belon­ging in local contexts, and mobi­lise different social ties for different, specia­lised types of support.

Read the full article